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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Stocks skid lower to end worst week since May amid disappointment on Fed rate-cut plans
U.S. stocks finished firmly lower Friday, capping the worst week for equities since the end of May, as doubts about the magnitude of an expected rate cut by the Federal Reserve softened the buying mood on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.3% at 27,154, off 69 points, the S&P 500 index retreated 0.6% at 2,977, while the Nasdaq Composite Index pulled back 0.7% to end at 8,146. For the week, the Dow booked a 0.7% decline, the S&P 500 finished with a weekly slide of 1.2%, while the Nasdaq logged a 1.2% drop over the five-session period. For all three stock gauges it was the steepest weekly decline since the period ended May 31, according to FactSet data. Reports of Iran seizing oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz added to uncertainty on the day and Federal Reserve officials attempted moderate comments made by NY Fed boss John Williams, whose comments investors appeared to interpret as implying a 50-basis-point rate cut at the end of this month.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Chesapeake's stock bounces off 20-yr. low as oil prices gain
Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp. surged 3.4% in afternoon trading Friday, to bounce off a 20-year closing low, as a a rebound in oil prices helped provide a boost. The oil and gas company's stock had tumbled 7.1% on Thursday, and sank 18% amid a four-session losing streak, to the lowest close ($1.58) since April 1999. On Friday, crude oil futures rose 0.7% to snap a four-session losing streak, helped by reports that Iran seized a U.K.-flagged ship in the Gulf of Oman. The correlation coefficient between Chesapeake's stock and crude oil futures, over the past two decades, has been 0.78, in which 1.00 would mean they move perfectly in sync. In comparison, Chesapeake's correlation with the S&P 500 is negative 0.28.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

S&P 500 turns negative after report indicates a 25 basis point cut at July Fed meeting
U.S. stocks traded lower after The Wall Street Journal published a report saying "Fed officials signal quarter-point rate cut likely at July meeting." The S&P 500 lost 7 points, or 0.2%, to 2,988 after rising as many as 9.49 points at session highs, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19 points, or 0.1%, to 27,242, though it traded more than 100 points higher earlier Friday afternoon. The Nasdaq Composite index lost 26 points, or 0.3% to 8,181. The report said Fed officials "aren't prepared for bolder action by making a half-point cut, as analysts and traders have speculated in recent days," citing public remarks and interviews.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Oil gains for the session, but U.S. prices drop over 7% for the week
Oil futures finished higher Friday after reports that Iran seized a U.K.-flagged ship in the Gulf of Oman. Prices still settled lower for the week, however, on worries about a slowdown in demand. The market saw an "insane downward trend in crude oil this week," said James Hatzigiannis, senior commodities associate at Long Leaf Trading Group. "I think it is a bit of an overreaction and you should see prices recover next week if there [is] any progress on the U.S./China trade front or any escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran," he said. August West Texas Intermediate oil added 33 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $55.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 7.6% for the week after settling Thursday at its lowest in a month.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Two-year Treasury yield surges after report says Fed signals 25 basis point rate cut
Short-term Treasury yields climbed after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Reserve was signaling a 25 basis point rate cut at its July 30-31 meeting. The 2-year Treasury note yield , sensitive to expectations for monetary policy, surged 4.6 basis points to 1.822%. The 10-year Treasury note yield rose by a more subdued 1.5 basis points to 2.055%. Debt prices move in the opposite direction of yields. Expectations for a sharp 50 basis point rate cut in July have risen and fallen after speeches by senior Federal Reserve officials. New York Fed President John Williams suggested on Thursday there was a strong case for central banks acting aggressively and swiftly to early signs of economic weakness. Since then, a New York Fed spokesperson downplayed the policy implications of his comments. In addition, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Friday that a 50 basis point cut would be excessive.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Oil rises on reports Iran seized U.K.-flagged oil tanker
Oil futures moved higher ahead of Friday's settlement, following a report from BBC News that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has seized a U.K.-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. Worsening tensions raise the potential for disruptions to oil flow in the Strait of Hormuz. West Texas Intermediate oil prices, which had been trading little changed ahead of the news, saw its August contract rise by 65 cents, or 1.2%, to $55.95 a barrel, while September Brent crude added 63 cents, or 1%, to $62.56 a barrel.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Gold ends lower for the session, pares weekly gain to 1%
Gold futures lost steam to finish lower on Friday, giving up earlier gains as prices took a break from a two-session rally that lifted prices to their highest levels in more than six years. "Some of the hot money driving prices higher in futures and options has clearly closed out the week by taking profit," said Adrian Ash, director of research at BullionVault. "Big picture, the switch to weaker interest rates and new stimulus looks set to keep gold on the boil." August gold declined by $1.40, or 0.1%, to settle at $1,426.70 on Comex. It tallied a weekly rise of 1%. It had settled at $1,428.10 on Thursday, the highest finish for a most-active contract since mid-May 2013, according to FactSet data.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Walmart reorganizes leadership team to following Jet.com integration
Walmart Inc. is reorganizing some of its leadership team in the wake of the decision to absorb Jet.com into its digital business. In the memo sent to associates, which was also sent to MarketWatch, Greg Smith has been named to head the combined supply chain team, which will bring together supply chain heads for grocery, e-commerce, fleet operations, and other business functions. Nate Faust, who had been leading the e-commerce fulfillment process, will help with this transition and then leave the company. Michael Dastugue has been named Walmart U.S. chief financial officer and Steve Schmitt, who is currently the CFO for Sam's Club, has been named U.S. e-commerce CFO. Brandi Joplin, currently chief audit executive, will take on the role of Sam's Club CFO and Todd Sears, currently assistant controller, will become chief audit executive. Ashley Buchanan has been named U.S. e-commerce chief merchandising officer. And Jeff Shotts, who is currently the e-commerce CFO, will now lead the U.S. marketplace business, reporting to Marc Lore. There are now openings for chief experience and strategy officer, chief product officer, and leader of the customer care team. Walmart stock has rallied more than 23% for the year to date while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 17% for the period. Read: Walmart CEO McMillon says the retailer has been playing ‘catch up' in e-commerce

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Baker Hughes data show U.S. oil-rig count down a third straight week
Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell by 5 to 779 this week. That followed declines in each of the last two weeks. The total active U.S. rig count, meanwhile, also fell by 4 to 954, according to Baker Hughes. August West Texas Intermediate crude saw little reaction to the oil-rig count. It was down a penny at $55.29 a barrel.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

MSG Networks stock sinks after J.P. Morgan cuts rating and target to a Street low
Shares of MSG Networks Inc. sank 3.6% toward a 13-month low in midday trading Friday, after J.P. Morgan analyst Alexia Quadrani downgraded the sports entertainment network operator on the expectation that affiliate revenue growth will decelerate as industry trends worsen. Quadrani cut her rating to underweight, after being at neutral since at least November 2016, and lowered her stock price target to $19 from $23. That makes Quadrani the most bearish of the 10 analysts surveyed by FactSet that cover MSGN. Quadrani said the growth in virtual multichannel television programming distributors (MVPDs) is accelerating the trend in cord cutting, which is an "ongoing challenge" for MSGN. She said its carriage agreement with one of its largest affiliates, Altice, expires at the end of the year, could remain an overhang for the stock on concerns the MVPD will seek lower carriage minimums. "We view the risk/reward for shares through year-end as skewed to the downside given worsening trends for legacy video subscribers, which could lead to lower consensus estimates and further multiple contraction," Quadrani wrote in a note to clients. The stock, on track for the lowest close since June 2018, has tumbled 17.4% year to date while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 17.0%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Michaels' stock tumbles after BofA Merrill Lynch turns bearish, citing potential sales outlook cut
Shares Michaels Companies Inc. tumbled 7.7% to pace the retail sector's decliners, after Bank of America Merrill Lynch turned bearish, citing potentially long-term struggles that are "unlikely to resolve" until a new CEO is named. The company had announced in February that then-CEO Chuck Rubin was agreed to step down after six years in charge. Analyst Elizabeth Suzuki cut her rating to underperform from neutral, while slashing her price target to $5, which is 35% below current levels, from $9. She said a proprietary survey of over 2,000 U.S. consumers has provided some insight into the "opaque" arts and crafts retail sector, suggesting the sector has struggled with "a lack of compelling trends" and an increase in competition. As the only publicly traded "pure-play" arts and crafts retailer, Suzuki expects Michaels to cut its full-year outlook for same-store sales, after the company has been reporting decelerating sales but recently maintained its full-year outlook. "[Michaels's] expectation for a [second-half] rebound appears overly optimistic, in our view, and we expect guidance to be lowered in the upcoming quarters," Suzuki wrote in a note to clients. The stock, which was the biggest decliner in the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has lost 43% year to date, while the retail ETF has gained 3.7% and the S&P 500 has rallied 20%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Medallia's stock blasts off with a 62% gain after upsized IPO prices above expectations
Medallia Inc. launched its life as a public company with it's shares rocketing higher on heavy volume, after its upsized initial public offering priced well above the previously expected range. The first trade for the San Francisco-based experience management enterprise software company's stock was at $34 at 10:58 a.m. Eastern for 2.95 million shares, or 62% above the $21 IPO price. The stock has extend its gains, to be up 64% in recent trading. The stock's gain helped boost its market valuation to about $4.18 billion. Medallia went public at a time the Renaissance IPO ETF has run up 40.3% year to date, more than double the S&P 500's gain of 19.6%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Kansas City Southern's stock surges to pace Dow transports gainers after earnings beat
Shares of Kansas City Southern surged 2.4% in morning trading Friday, after the railroad operator reported second-quarter earnings and revenue that beat expectations. The rally was enough to pace the Dow Jones Transportation Average's gainers, as the Dow transports rose 77 points, or 0.7%. The company reported earlier net income that fell to $128.7 million, or $1.28 a share, from $148.2 million, or $1.45 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted EPS rose 6% to $1.64, above the FactSet consensus of $1.54. Revenue increased 5% to $714.0 million, beating the FactSet consensus of $706.5 million. The company said operational efficiency helped boost its performance. " We're handling the same volume levels overall that we handled last year with 12% fewer locomotives, 7% fewer railcars and 10% fewer crew starts," said Chief Executive Patrick Ottensmeyer on the post-earnings conference call with analysts, according to a transcript provided by FactSet. The stock has run up 26.7% year to date, while the Dow transports has advanced 15.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 16 .8%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Red Robin shares soar after activist investor offer
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. stock jumped 13% in Friday trading after the restaurant chain confirmed that it has received an unsolicited conditional proposal from Vintage Capital Management to acquire all outstanding common shares at $40 apiece in cash. Red Robin said in a statement that it will carefully review the proposal. Vintage Capital already owned 1.5 million Red Robin shares, or 11.6%. Vintage Capital previously urged Red Robin to consider strategic alternatives, including a sale, and said it was prepared to make this offer. Red Robin stock is down 31% over the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 7% for the period.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Skechers upgraded on growth potential in the second half, shares soar
Skechers USA Inc. stock soared 14% in Friday trading after blowout earnings were followed by a stock upgrade at Wedbush to outperform from neutral. Wedbush raised its price target to $46 from $31. "In our view, international wholesale and global direct-to-consumer can continue to outperform into the second half of 2019, driving improved leverage and earnings per share upside," wrote Wedbush analysts led by Christopher Svezia. Analysts are also encouraged by the U.S. business based on off-price comparisons, growth in the wholesale Amazon.com Inc. account, and the product pipeline. Skechers also saw its price target raised at at least three research groups: Susquehanna Financial Group (up to $42 from $37), Cowen (up to $40 from $32) and Stifel (up to $44 from $35). "We are highly encouraged by the combination of strong end-market demand and SG&A [sales, general and administrative expenses] efficiency," Stifel wrote. "While still mindful of necessary systems investments and process improvements to support the current scale of the business, we see double-digit growth and leverage capacity as deserving of a higher multiple." Stifel rates Skechers stock buy. Skechers shares have soared 73.5% in 2019 so far while the S&P 500 index is up 19.8% for the period.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Boeing's stock 'relief' rally is helping keep the Dow positive
Shares of Boeing Co. surged 3.9% in morning trading Friday, enough to keep the Dow Jones Industrial Average in positive territory, in the wake of the aerospace giant's announcement of a 737 Max-related charge of $5.6 billion. The stock's price gain of $13.99 was adding about 95 points to the Dow's price, which was up 89 points. J.P. Morgan analyst Seth Seifman said despite the larger-than-expected charge, he believes Boeing's decision to keep 737 Max production at 42 per month and its plan to boost production to 57 per month in 2020 "is likely a relief" for investors.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Trump tweets he liked Fed's Williams' 'first statement' better than second
President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted that he liked a speech by New York Federal Reserve President John Williams better than a statement that followed. Speaking Thursday, Williams said the most effective strategy for the Fed is to cut rates at the first sign of trouble. Investors saw Williams' comments as endorsing a half-point rate cut at the next policy meeting on July 30-31. But a New York Fed spokesman later said the talk was theoretical. Trump has routinely called for the Fed to cut rates.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Gannett's stock soars after WSJ report a buyout by GateHouse is near
Shares of Gannett Co. Inc. soared 21% in morning trading Friday, after The Wall Street Journal reported that the publisher of the USA Today newspaper was nearing a deal to be acquired by GateHouse Media. The WSJ report, out late Thursday, said the companies were discussing a cash-and-stock deal, which would join the U.S.'s two largest newspaper groups by circulation. On May 30, the WSJ had reported that Gannett and GateHouse were in merger talks. And in January, the WSJ reported Gannett was approached by hedge-fund backed MNG Enterprises Inc., better known as Digital First Media. Gannett's stock has lost 5.7% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has advanced 7.1%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Stocks open higher as investors watch earnings; Microsoft hits all-time high
Stocks opened higher Friday, lifted as investors appeared cheered by the latest round of earnings reports and continued to look ahead to an expected rate cut by the Federal Reserve at the end of the month. The S&P 500 rose 9.27 points, or 0.3%, to trade at 3,004.38, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 94.1 points, or 0.4%, to 27,317.07. The Nasdaq Composite rose 33.69 points, or 0.4%, to 8,240.93. Shares of Microsoft Corp. were up more than 2% at $139.24, after trading at an all-time high at $140.67, following a stronger-than-expected earnings report.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Home builder NVR beats profit and revenue expectations
Home builder NVR Inc. reported Friday a second-quarter profit and revenue that rose above expectations as new orders increased, although the average price of homes ordered declined. Net income increased to $210.2 million,or $53.09 a share, from $203.2 million, or $49.05 a share, in the same period a year ago. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share ws $45.60. Homebuilding revenue edged up to $1.76 billion from $1.75 billion, topping the FactSet consensus of $1.68 billion. New orders increased 6% to 5,239 units, above expectations of 5,186 units. The average sales price of new orders declined 5% to $358,000, primarily because of the continued shift to smaller, lower-priced products, as well as a shift to markets with lower average sales prices. The stock, which was still inactive ahead of the open, has rallied 43.9% year to date, while the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF has hiked up 30.3% and the S&P 500 has climbed 19.5%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Midatech's stock rockets on heavy volume after positive results from diabetes treatment study
The U.S.-listed shares of Midatech Pharma PLC rocketed 113% on very heavy volume in premarket trading Friday, after the U.K.-based research and development company focused on rare disease products and cancer treatments disclosed "positive" results from a first in-human study of its MTX102 immuno-tolerising vaccine candidate in diabetes. Trading volume topped 2.9 million shares, enough to make the stock the most actively traded ahead of the open, and compared with the full-day average of about 88,000 shares. The company had recruited five recently diagnosed Type I diabetes patients in the phase 1 study, which was focused on assessing safety of MTX102. "MTX102 was well tolerated, with asymptomatic local injection site reactions being the only drug-related finding, and no serious adverse events were reported," the company said. The stock had tumbled 80.7% over the past 12 months through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has gained 6.8%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

J.C. Penney shares tank after report that it hired debt advisors
J.C. Penney Co Inc. shares fell 10.2% in Friday premarket trading after a late-Thursday report that it has hired advisors to restructure its debt in order to allow for more time for a turnaround. J.C. Penney stock has fallen nearly 58% over the past year while the S&P 500 index has risen 6.8% over the period. As of May 4, 2019, the company had total long-term debt of about $3.9 billion, according to FactSet. Restructuring plans are in the early stages, according to Reuters. "Although we recognize that J.C. Penney continues to maintain good liquidity, with about $1.75 billion of revolver availability and cash, our downgrade to Caa1 stable reflects the reality that leverage remains extremely elevated as the company embarks on its turnaround," Moody's wrote in a June 17 note. "Despite the areas of opportunity for improvement, which include its assortments, management of shrink and online, significant progress will take time. In addition, the magnitude of the improvement needed to refinance the capital structure long term is also significant."

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Gilead licensing three pre-clinical programs from Novartis
Gilead Sciences Inc. has licensed three pre-clinical anti-viral programs from rival pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG , the companies announced Friday. Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead will get exclusive rights to develop and commercialize several small molecules that have the potential to treat human rhinovirus, influenza and herpes. Novartis will receive an upfront payment, the amount for which was not disclosed, and will be eligible to get an additional $291 in potential milestone payments and royalties on annual net sales. Shares of both Gilead and Novartis were up slightly in premarket trade. Gilead's stock has gained 7.5% in the year to date through Thursday, while Novartis shares have gained 24.2%. The S&P 500 has gained 19.5%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Hurricane Barry caused estimated losses of $500 to $900 million: CoreLogic
Hurricane Barry, which battered Louisiana in early July, is estimated to have caused $500 million to $900 million of flood and wind losses, according to real estate services provider CoreLogic . The storm caused flood losses of $200 million to $400 million to residential and commercial properties, including from storm surge and inland flooding. Wind losses are estimated at an additional $300 million to $500 million. Excluding National Flood Insurance Program losses, insured flood and wind losses are estimated at $300 million to $600 million. "Insured residential and commercial flood loss covered by the NFIP is estimated to be between $100 million and $200 million," CoreLogic said in a statement. "Uninsured flood loss is estimated to be approximately $100 million. "

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Huntington Bancshares boosts dividend to yield nearly double its peer group
Huntington Bancshares Inc. said Friday it will raise its quarterly dividend by 7%, which effectively increases the regional bank's dividend yield to nearly double its peer group, and more than double the broader stock market. The Ohio-based bank said it will raise its dividend to 15 cents a share from 14 cents, with the new dividend payable Oct. 1 to shareholders of record on Sept. 17. Based on Thursday's stock closing price of $13.76, the new annual dividend rate implies a yield of 4.36%, compared with the yield on the SPDR S&P Regional Bank ETF of $2.26% and the implied yield for the S&P 500 of 1.93%, according to FactSet. Huntington's stock has rallied 15.4% year to date, while the regional bank ETF has advanced 13.1% and the S&P 500 has climbed 19.5%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Pier 1 names new president and CFO
Pier 1 Imports Inc. said Friday that it has named two new executives, both to assume their roles on July 22. Douglas Diemoz will become president, a newly-created position responsible for day-to-day operations at the ailing home retailer, including global supply chain, information technology and human resources. He was most recently chief executive of Crate & Barrel. Pier 1 is creating an office of the chief executive officer that will be led by Cheryl Bachelder, the company's interim CEO, and will include Diemoz and others. The office will supervise and direct the company's strategy, including its previously announced evaluation of strategic alternatives. Robert Riesbeck will become chief financial officer, succeeding Deborah Rieger-Paganis, who has served in the role on an interim basis since April. She was most recently CFO of FullBeauty brands. Pier 1 stock has plummeted more than 37% this week, and is down 71.2% for the past month. The company announced a 1-for-20 reverse stock split in late June. The S&P 500 index is up 2.4% for the past month.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Weight Watchers shares soar 6% premarket after DA Davidson upgrades stock to buy
Weight Watchers International Inc. shares rose 6% in premarket trade Friday, after DA Davidson upgraded the stock to buy from neutral and said investor expectations for the 2020 diet season are too subdued. "WW has already reported improved recruitment trends, chatter on app download data indicates stabilization of subscriber trends, and our proprietary analysis of Reddit comments indicates keto interest could be fading," analyst Linda Bolton Weiser wrote in a note to clients. "Our data also show improved sentiment toward the meeting experience in 2Q19 vs. 1Q19. We believe 2019 earnings risk is low." The analyst said proprietary research finds brand sentiment up strongly in the second quarter after a decline in the first quarter. DA Davidson generates monthly and quarterly sentiment scores by scraping relevant comments from Reddit and YoutTube. The investment firm raised its stock price target to $32 from $24.50. Weight Watchers shares have fallen 35% in 2019, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Medallia IPO prices well above expectations, shares offered boosted by 7.5%
Medallia Inc. raised by 7.5% the number of shares it was offering in its initial public offering, which priced well above expectations. The San Francisco-based experience management enterprise software company said the IPO priced at $21 a share, above the previously expected range of $16 to $18. Medallia also increased its share offering by 7.5% to 14,325,000 shares from 13,250,000, to raise about $300.8 million. Selling shareholders are offering an additional 1,175,000 shares in the offering, in line with previous plans. The stock is set to start trading Friday on the NYSE under the ticker symbol "MDLA." The company said earlier this month that it will have 121,603,976 shares outstanding after the IPO, which would give it a market valuation of about $2.55 billion. Medallia is going public at a time the Renaissance IPO ETF has gained 8.5% over the past three months and the S&P 500 has tacked on 3.1%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

American Express's stock turns lower after profit beat and outlook maintained
Shares of American Express Co. swung to a loss of 1.3% in premarket trading Friday, erasing earlier gains, after the credit card and payments company reported a second-quarter profit that beat expectations while affirming its full-year outlook. AmEx also said it expected to raise its dividend by 10%. Net income rose to $1.76 billion, or $2.07 a share, from $1.62 billion, or $1.84 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus was for earnings per share of $2.03. Revenue increased 8% to $10.84 billion, just above the FactSet consensus of $10.83 billion, as revenue for consumer services increased 10%, for commercial services grew 7% and for merchant and network services rose 5%. The company affirmed its 2019 outlook for revenue growth of 8% to 10% and for adjusted EPS of $7.85 to $8.35. The company said it expects to raise its quarterly dividend to 43 cents a share from 39 cents in the third quarter. The stock has soared 34.7% year to date through Thursday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 16.7%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Schlumberger's stock swings higher after revenue beats expectations, profit matches
Shares of Schlumberger Ltd. swung to a premarket gain of 1.0% Friday, after the oil services company reported second-quarter revenue that beat expectations, while profit that matched. Before the results, the stock was down over 1% after the company said CEO Paal Kibsgaard will retire after 8 years in the role. Net income rose to $492 million, or 35 cents a share, from $430 million, or 31 cents a share in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted EPS fell to 35 cents from 43 cents, in line with the FactSet consensus. Revenue was little changed at $8.27 billion, but was above the FactSet consensus of $8.11 billion, as reservoir characterization, production and Cameron revenue topped expectations while drilling came up a bit shy. The stock has lost 14.9% over the past three months through Thursday, while the VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF has tumbled 22.9% and the S&P 500 has gained 3.1%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

Schlumberger's CEO Paal Kibsgaard to retire after 8 years in the role
Schlumberger Ltd. said Friday Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard will retire after eight years in the role and 22 years with the company, and will step down as chairman of the board. The stock fell 1.1% in premarket trading, ahead of the company's second-quarter results due out later Friday. The oil services company said Kibsgaard will be succeeded as CEO by Chief Operating Officer Olivier Le Peuch, a 32-year veteran of the company, effective Aug. 1. "The board owes Paal a debt of gratitude for his excellent leadership in modernizing and transforming the Company to ensure its continued future success," said Lead Independent Director Peter Currie. "We wish Paal the very best as he enters a new chapter in his life." The stock has gained 7.5% year to date through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has rallied 19.5%.

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Jul 19, 2019

PepsiCo to acquire South Africa's Pioneer Foods for about $1.7 billion in cash
PepsiCo Inc. said Friday it has reached an agreement to acquire South AFrica's Pioneer Foods in an all-cash deal valued at about $1.7 billion. The company is playing 110 rand ($7.90) per share, equal to a 56% premium over the 30-day volume weighted average price prior to an announcement on July 15. "This acquisition will help PepsiCo gain a solid beachhead for expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa by boosting the company's manufacturing and go-to-market capabilities, enabling scale and distribution," the company said in a statement. Pioneer owns a range of cereals, juices and other African staples, including brands that are popular in Africa including Weet-Bix, Liqui-Fruit, Ceres, Sasko, Safari, Spekko, and White Star. The deal will be funded through a mix of cash and debt and is expected to close by the first quarter of 2020. Pioneer Food shares climbed more than 30% on the news. PepsiCo was down 0.2% premarket, but has gained 20% in 2019, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

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Jul 19, 2019

BlackRock's stock slips after profit and revenue fall below expectations
BlackRock Inc. reported Friday second-quarter earnings and revenue that fell below expectations, as the investment management and advisory company said it had lower base fees as a result of lower securities and lending revenue and lower performance fees. The stock slipped 0.2% in premarket trading. Net income fell to $1.00 billion, or $6.41 a share, from $1.07 billion, or $6.62 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted EPS fell to $6.41 from $6.66, below the FactSet consensus of $6.50. Revenue declined 2% to $3.52 billion, missing the FactSet consensus of $3.58 billion. Total net inflows saw 9% organic growth to $151 billion, with iShares inflows of $36.1 billion and institutional inflows of $125.4 billion. The stock has gained 21.0% year to date through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has rallied 19.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 19, 2019

BlackRock reports decline in profit that misses analyst expectations
Fund giant BlackRock reported a decline in second-quarter earnings that lagged expectations. The company's profit was $1 billion, or $6.41 a share, vs. $1.08 billion, or $6.62 a share, in the year-earlier quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $6.50 a share. Revenue fell 2% to $3.52 billion, a bit lower than the $3.58 billion expected by analysts, with the company blaming market headwinds for the decline. The company reported long-term net inflows of $125.4 billion during the quarter.

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Jul 18, 2019

New York Fed downplays Williams's speech, calling it 'academic' and not about July policy meeting
The New York Fed on Thursday played down the importance of President John Williams' speech earlier in the day that was interpreted by the market as an endorsement of a half-point interest rate cut at the end of the month. "This was an academic speech on 20 years of research. It was not about potential policy actions at the upcoming FOMC meeting," a New York Fed spokesman said. In his remarks, Williams said his research showed that, when interest rates are near zero, a central bank should "act quickly to lower rates at the first sign of economic distress." After his remarks, traders priced in a slightly greater than 50% chance of a half-point rate cut on July 31, up from 34% one day ago.

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Jul 18, 2019

Red Robin shares soar 17% on resubmitted bid from Vintage Capital
Shares of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers jumped 17% in extended trading Thursday after it confirmed it has received an unsolicited proposal from private-equity firm Vintage Capital Management LLC to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Red Robin for $40 per share in cash. Last month, Red Robin turned down a request for a special meeting with stockholders initiated by Vintage, which already owns a piece of the restaurant chain.

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Jul 18, 2019

SEC freezes assets of alleged fraudsters targeting elderly
The Securities and Exchange Commission imposed an emergency assets freeze on Thursday related to charges that two individuals are running an alleged pump-and-dump scheme targeting elderly retail investors. According to the SEC's complaint, Florida resident Garrett M. O'Rourke and Maryland resident Michael J. Black allegedly worked together between 2016 and 2018 to sell shares in several microcap companies to investors, including elderly retail investors, using high-pressure stock promotional campaigns. The SEC alleges that, as part of the scheme, O'Rourke aggressively touted the companies to prospective investors through unsolicited cold calls during which he repeatedly lied about his association with legitimate financial institutions and the prospects of the microcap companies. John T. Dugan, Associate Director of Enforcement in the SEC's Boston Regional Office, said: "Investors should beware of parties using the types of sales techniques alleged in our complaint, including unsolicited calls and high-pressure sales tactics."

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Jul 18, 2019

Boeing to take $4.9 billion charge in Q2 on 737 Max grounding
Boeing Co. said late Thursday it will record an after-tax charge of $4.9 billion, or $8.74 a share, in connection with the 737 Max groundings. The charge will result in a $5.6 billion dent in revenue and pre-tax earnings in the quarter, Boeing said. Boeing also warned that the estimated costs to produce the aircraft increased by $1.7 billion in the second quarter, primarily due to higher costs associated with a longer-than-expected reduction in the production rate. The increased 737 costs will reduce the margin of the 737 program in the second quarter and in future quarters. The 737 Max family has been grounded worldwide since March after a second fatal crash in less than five months. Preliminary reports found connections between the crashes, related to an anti-stall feature, and Boeing has been working on a software fix. Shares of Boeing rose 0.7% in the extended session after ending the regular trading day down 2.3%.

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Jul 18, 2019

Stocks snap losing skid as Fed official hints that central bank may lower rates aggressively
U.S. equity benchmarks finished the session mostly higher Thursday after Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said the central bank needs to act quickly to quash signs of economic weakness. His comments, made late in the afternoon at a research conference in New York, helped to deliver a jolt to equity markets and drive bond yields and the dollar firmly lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average , however lagged behind its peers, weighed by declines in UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Boeing Co. . The blue-chip index closed virtually unchanged on the day at 27,222, while the S&P 500 index climbed 0.4% to end at 2,995, and the Nasdaq Composite Index closed 0.3% higher at 8,207. in a world where interest rates are lower than they have been historically, central banks must confront any sign of weakness quickly and aggressively.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Gold rallies in electronic trade as Middle East tensions intensify and comments from Fed's Williams back a rate cut
Gold futures extended their gains into the electronic trading session on Thursday. "News of the U.S. navy shooting down an Iranian drone always adds fuel to the market, but the underlying buying momentum after a break of the $1,425 area has propelled gold back to the next bit challenge" the $1,450 area, said Peter Spina, chief executive officer of GoldSeek.com. He also pointed to speculation in the market that a "large supranational organization" is acquiring all ounces of gold produced in North America, citing a tweet from Roy Sebag, founder of GoldMoney. Traders also saw comments from the New York Fed President John Williams as endorsing an interest-rate cut at the Federal Reserve's policy meeting later this month. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index also declined on the back of the comments, providing support for dollar-denominated gold prices. August gold was at $1,448.40 an ounce in electronic trading. The contract had climbed by $4.80, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,428.10 on Comex. That was the highest finish for a most-active contract since mid-May 2013, according to FactSet data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Stocks jump to session highs in afternoon trade as Fed's Williams says it 'pays to act' quickly to lower rates
U.S. stocks bounced higher Thursday afternoon, with the equity benchmarks climbing to session highs after New York Fed President John Williams said that the central bank should act quickly at the first sign of trouble in the economy. "When you have only so much stimulus at your disposal, it pays to act quickly to lower rates at the first sign of economic distress," Williams said, in a speech at a research conference in New York. The comments were read as putting the possibility of a more substantial reduction of benchmark rates at the end of the Fed's two-day gathering July 30-31. Federal-funds rates currently stand between 2.25%-2.50%, and the market is starting to increase bets that policy makers may cut rates by as much as half-a-percentage point rather than a more conventional 25 basis point rate cut. As the president of the New York Fed, Williams has a standing vote on the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading flat at 27,232, but trading in positive territory, while the S&P 500 index was trading 0.3% higher at 2,9934, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was advancing 0.2% at 8,205. Lower rates are seen as supporting buying in equities even if it implies that economy could be confronting some headwinds.

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Jul 18, 2019

Hovnanian's stock tumbles after disclosure of NYSE delisting notice
Shares of Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. plunged 14% in afternoon trading Thursday, after the home builder disclosed that it received a de-listing warning from the New York Stock Exchange, citing the market capitalization listing standard. Hovnanian said it received written notification of non-compliance on July 11, because the company's market cap averaged less than $50 million over a consecutive 30 trading-session period. The market cap declined to $43.59 million, after being above $50 million the previous 5 sessions, according to FactSet data. In the 30 sessions before July 11, market cap averaged $48.8 million. The NYSE's warnings comes after Hovnanian effected a 1-for-25 reverse stock split on March 29, after the stock closed March 28 at a pre-split-adjusted price of 55 cents. Hovnanian's stock has tumbled 57% year to date, while the SPDR S&P Homebuilder ETF has rallied 30% and the S&P 500 has advanced 19%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Traders see 50% chance of half-point rate cut in July after Fed's Williams remarks
Traders in the fed funds futures market now expect a more than 50% chance of a 50 basis point rate cut by the Federal Reserve at its July 30-31 meeting, following the release of prepared remarks from New York Fed President John Williams. The chance of a 50 basis point rate-cut was estimated at 34% a day ago. The 2-year Treasury note yield , sensitive to expectations for Fed policy, tumbled 5.5 basis points to 1.781%. Debt prices move in the opposite direction of yields. Williams said the Fed should respond early to signs of economic weakness."When you only have so much stimulus at your disposal, it pays to act quickly to lower rates at the first sign of economic distress," he said. Among members of the Federal Open Market Committee, Williams has been an advocate for preemptive, or "insurance," rate cuts to prolong the expansion.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Oil drops by nearly 3%, with U.S. prices at lowest in a month
Oil futures dropped by nearly 3% on Thursday, sending U.S. prices to their lowest finish in roughly a month. Prices reversed earlier gains, "reacting to the weakness in U.S. equities and over expectations of a production rise from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico region, coming back into service after last week's Hurricane Barry disrupted production," said Mihir Kapadia, chief executive officer of Sun Global Investments. August West Texas Intermediate oil lost $1.48, or 2.6%, to settle at $55.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest front-month contract finish since June 19, according to FactSet data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Budweiser-parent Anheuser-Busch InBev's stock gains after WSJ report of potential asset sales
Shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A. rose 1.2% in midday trading Thursday, after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona beer brewer was exploring a sale of assets as it looks to reduce debt after calling off the initial public offering of its Asia-based business. Citing people familiar with the matter, the WSJ report said A-B InBev is considering selling assets in South Korea, Australia and Central America. In May, private-equity firm KKR & Co. had approached A-B InBev about buying back some of the Asia-based assets, the WSJ report said, as KKR had previously bought the Korean business and sold it back to A-B InBev for $5.8 billion in 2014. A-B InBev's stock has rallied 36% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Active shooter threat shuts down Chico's Florida campus
Chico's Fas Inc. shares fell 4% in Thursday trading after the women's apparel and accessories company shut down its Fort Myers, Fla. corporate campus due to threat of an active shooter. "Local law enforcement and other emergency personnel were immediately notified, and are presently on site," Chico's said in a statement. "As a precaution, and consistent with existing security protocols and policies, all employees were notified of the situation in real-time. A lockdown of all facilities has been initiated, and employees at the site have been instructed by local law enforcement to shelter in place at a secure location." The company said that no actual shooter has been identified and the company is unaware of any injuries. Chico's stock has fallen almost 68% over the last year while the S&P 500 index is up nearly 6% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

These 3 stocks deliver a more than 100-point drag on the Dow in midday action
The Dow Jones Industrial Average midday Thursday was being yanked to session lows by a trio of components. Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. , Boeing Co. , and Walt Disney Co. were exacting a powerful 100-point drag on the blue-chip index, representing the lion's share of the modest declines in the price-weighted benchmark. The Dow was down 135 points, or 0.5%, at 27,089, while the S&P 500 index was sinking 0.3% lower at 2,975, with the Nasdaq Composite Index 0.5% lower at 8,143. A $1 move in any one of the Dow's components equates to a roughly 6.8-point swing in the index. UnitedHealth shares were down $6.75 at $259.90 a share, a decline of 2.5%, those for Boeing were off $5.83 to reach $363.57, a drop of 1.6%, while Disney's shares were edging 1.4% lower, off $2.03 at $140.52.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Akerna's stock falls, but pares losses after disclosing stock offering by shareholders
Share of Akerna Corp. slumped 1.5% in morning trading Thursday, after the Denver-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) company focused on the cannabis industry disclosed a relatively large sale of common stock by a "certain selling stockholders." The stock pared earlier losses of as much as 10.2%. The company filed late Wednesday a registration statement for the resale of 6,699,766 shares of common stock, including 5,554,942 common stock, 901,074 common stock underlying options and 243,750 common stock underlying warrants. The sale would be valued at $88.1 million at the proposed maximum offering price of $13.15 a share. Akerna will not receive any proceeds from the offering. After the offering, the number of common stock outstanding will increase by 10.8% to 11,734,570 shares. The stock has still run up 33.4% over the past three months, while the AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF has fallen 13.3% and the S&P 500 has gained 2.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

EIA reports a weekly rise of 62 billion cubic feet in U.S. natural-gas supplies
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday that domestic supplies of natural gas rose by 62 billion cubic feet for the week ended July 12. The data were expected to show a build of 65 billion cubic feet, on average, according to analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. Total stocks now stand at 2.533 trillion cubic feet, up 291 billion cubic feet from a year ago, but 143 billion below the five-year average, the government said. August natural gas traded at $2.325 per million British thermal units, up 2.1 cents, or 0.9%, from Wednesday's settlement. It was trading at $2.335 before the data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

U.S. leading economic index posts biggest drop since 2016
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The leading economic index fell 0.3% in ?June to mark the biggest decline in three years, suggesting U.S. growth is likely to be softer in the months ahead. "As the U.S. economy enters its 11th year of expansion, the longest in U.S. history, the LEI suggests growth is likely to remain slow in the second half of the year," said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles research at the board. The decline in June, however, appears to be a bit of an anomaly. Weekly jobless claims spiked in June, but have since fallen again. And manufacturing orders and housing permits were unusually weak last month, suggesting a rebound might be in the cards soon. A measure of? current conditions rose 0.1% and a "?lagging" index climbed 0.6%. The LEI is a weighted gauge of 10 indicators designed to signal business-cycle peaks and valleys.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

UnitedHealth's stock slump exacts nearly 30-point toll on Dow industrials -- but IBM's rally caps loss
A decline in shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. Thursday morning was producing the most severe drag on the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average in early action. Shares of UnitedHealth were down 1.8%, or about $4.75 lower at $261.90, translating to a roughly 30-point drag on the price-weighted Dow. The company's shares had hit a low of $257.26 near the open, representing a drag of about 50 points on the Dow. A $1 move in any one of its 30 components of the 123-year-old index equates to a 6.8-point swing. The Dow was down 18 points, or 0.1%, at 27,198. Capping the decline in the Dow was an advance in International Business Machines Corp., which was up 3.2%, delivering a roughly 30-point boost to the Dow. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index was off 0.1% at 2,981, with a 0.2% decline for the Nasdaq Composite Index to reach 8,170. The losses for UnitedHealth come even as the health insurer reported better-than-expected quarterly results and lifted its full-year earnings outlook to $13.95 to $14.15 a share, from its previous forecast of $13.80 to $14.05. Late Wednesday, International Business Machines Corp.'s quarterly results topped estimates.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Stocks set to decline for third straight session as earnings remain in focus
U.S. stocks were on track for a third straight decline on Thursday as investors monitored corporate earnings and trade developments. The S&P 500 fell 0.3% to 2,976. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 76 points, or 0.3%, to 27,143. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.3% to 8,157. Another loss for the S&P 500 would see the equity benchmark record its longest losing streak since a four-session drop ending on June 26. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that U.S.-China trade talks were set to begin again. But prospects for a successful resolution came in doubt after The Wall Street Journal reported the Trump administration was unsure how to follow through with Beijing's demands that the U.S. ease restrictions on Huawei Technologies Co. In company news, shares of Netflix Inc. tumbled 9% after it reported a net loss in paid subscribers, the first since 2011.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Aurora Cannabis shares slide after BofA downgrade on concerns about cash burn
Aurora Cannabis Inc. shares fell 2.3% in early trade Thursday, after BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to neutral from buy and lowered its stock price target to $8 from $10, on concerns about the company's cash burn. "Aurora has emerged as one of the best operators in the cannabis sector, with industry leading scale and margins even vs other large peers, and global optionality," analyst Christopher Carey wrote in a note to clients. "However, despite this, and a focus on profit, (CQ2 positive EBITDA target), it is burning cash and by our estimates could be cash negative by CQ120 (absent financing), namely if a large convertible debenture due in CQ120 stays out of the money." Even if its current cash burn were to improve, Aurora will likely need funding in the next few quarters," said the analyst The company has access to about C$100 million in a credit facility, but a convertible note that matures in the first quarter of 2020 will likely need to be paid in cash, he wrote. Shares have gained 47% in 2019, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

New York Mortgage Trust's stock falls on heavy volume after public share offering
Shares of New York Mortgage Trust Inc. slumped 2.6% in very active premarket trading Thursday, after the real estate investment trust announced a public offering of common stock, which represented about 9.5% of the shares outstanding. Volume topped 7.1 million shares, enough to make it the most actively traded stock ahead of the open, and already nearly triple the full-day average. The company said late Wednesday it was offering 20 million shares to the public, and said Thursday it expected gross proceeds of $122.2 million. That would imply a pricing of $6.11 a share, which represents a 2.4% discount to Wednesday's closing price of $6.26. The REIT said it plans to use the proceeds from the offering for general business purposes, which may including acquiring assets. The stock has gained 6.3% year to date through Wednesday, while the SPDR Real Estate Select Sector ETF has rallied 20.7% and the S&P 500 has climbed 19.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Morgan Stanley's stock turns lower, after downbeat NII outlook for rest of the year
Morgan Stanley's stock turned lower in premarket trading, as a downbeat outlook for net interest income (NII) offset second-quarter profit, revenue and NII beats. Chief Financial Officer Jon Pruzan said on the post-earnings conference call, according to a transcript provided by FactSet, that third-quarter NII is expected to be "largely in line" with year-ago results, while the current FactSet NII consensus of $992 million implies 6.0% growth. He said current expectations for lower interest rates could potentially have "a more material impact in the fourth quarter." The FactSet Q4 NII consensus of $996 million implies a 0.7% increase. The stock was down 1.3% ahead of the open, reversing earlier gains of as much as 0.8%. Pruzan said the third quarter was off to a strong start, "we are cognizant of a summer slowdown and that conviction remains lackluster compared to this time last year," as uncertainties over global economic growth have increased, "which may impact confidence and activity levels. The stock has lost 8.0% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has gained 1.9% and the S&P 500 has tacked on 2.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Union Pacific's stock bounces after earnings beat, but revenue falls a bit shy
Shares of Union Pacific Corp. rallied 2.5% in premarket trading Thursday, after the railroad company reported second-quarter earnings that beat expectations, while revenue fell a bit shy. The stock bounced after a 6.1% tumble on Wednesday, in the wake of rival rail transportation company CSX Corp.'s disappointing results. Net income rose to $1.57 billion, or $2.22 a share, from $1.51 billion, or $1.98 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for EPS was $2.15. Total revenue slipped 1% to $5.60 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $5.64 billion, as energy revenue fell more than expected, while premium and agricultural revenue topped expectations and industrial revenue was in line. Total freight revenue fell 2%, as lower volumes offset pricing gains. The stock has gained 19.0% year to date through Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average has advanced 13.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has hiked up 16.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Morgan Stanley's stock gains after profit, revenue and NII beats
Shares of Morgan Stanley gained 0.6% in premarket trading Thursday, after the investment bank reported a second-quarter profit, revenue and net interest income that beat expectations, as growth in its wealth and investment management businesses helped offset declines in its sales and trading businesses. Net income fell to $2.20 billion, or $1.23 a share, from $2.44 billion, or $1.30 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet EPS consensus was $1.14. Net revenue fell 3% to $10.24 billion, but was above the FactSet consensus of $9.99 billion, as net interest income increased 14% to $1.03 billion to beat expectations of $992.9 million. Sales and trading (S&T) revenue declined 12%, as equity S&T revenue fell 14% to $2.13 billion to miss the FactSet consensus of $2.20 billion and fixed income S&T revenue declined 18% to $1.13 billion to miss expectations of $1.35 billion. Separately, the bank said the quarterly dividend was raised to 35 cents a share from 30 cents. The stock has advanced 10.4% year to date through Wednesday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has rallied 16.9% and the S&P 500 has climbed 19.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Apple upgraded to outperform at Raymond James on 5G iPhone view
Apple Inc. was upgraded to outperform from market perform by Raymond James, which says it has greater confidence on next year's 5G iPhone cycle. Raymond James also upgraded Skyworks to outperform, since it's a chip supplier. "Our more recent checks suggest that Apple plans to bring 5G to a wider range of iPhone models, which is different from their plan when they had intended to use Intel's modem. We feel that offering 5G at lower price points will drive a stronger product cycle, and early production plans tend to confirm that view," said the analysts.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Philip Morris' stock jumps after earnings and revenue beat, raised profit guidance
Shares of Philip Morris International Inc. rallied 2.2% in premarket trading Thursday, after the cigarette seller reported a second-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations, and raised its full-year earnings guidance. Net income rose to $2.31 billion, or $1.49 a share, from $2.19 billion, or $1.41 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted EPS came in at $1.46, above the FactSet consensus of $1.32. Net revenue slipped 0.3% to $7.73 billion, to reflect negative effects of currency translation and favorable pricing variance, but was above the FactSet consensus of $7.38 billion. Total cigarettes shipment volume fell 3.6% during the quarter, as Marlboro shipments declined 1.2%, while heated tobacco units shipment volume increased 37%. The company raised its full-year EPS outlook to $4.94 from $4.87. The stock has hiked up 21.4% year to date through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 19.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Cannabis extraction company Neptune Wellness raises $41 million
Cannabis extraction company Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. said Thursday it has raised $41 million in a private placement with existing and new investors led by Perceptive Advisors. The company issued a total of 9.4 million shares, priced at $4.40 each. Proceeds of the deal will be used to fund the initial payment for the acquisition of SugarLeaf Labs and Forest Remedies LLC, as well as for general corporate purposes. The SugarLeaf deal is expected to close on or before July 31. Cowen was lead and sole U.S. placement agent on the deal with GMP Securities acting as Canadian placement agent. Neptune named Michael Cammarata at its new CEO in early July, replacing Jim Hamilton who stepped down after more than four years in the role. Cammarata was co-founder of wellness brand Schmidt's Natural, now part of Unilever Plc . Neptune shares were not active premarket, but have gained 93% in 2019, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 18, 2019

Hexo co-Founder Adam Miron to step down from role as chief brand officer
Quebec-based cannabis company Hexo Corp. said Thursday that co-Founder Adam Miron is stepping down from his role as chief brand officer, effective today. Miron co-founded the company with Chief Executive Sebastien St-Louis in 2013. Miron will remain on the board and will continue to be president of the board of Hexo Med, the company's Greek unit. Shares were not active premarket, but have gained 49% in 2019, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

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Jul 18, 2019

Qualcomm to appeal European Commission finding on decade-old chip shipments and 242 million euros fine
Qualcomm Inc. said Thursday it is planning to appeal at European Commission finding that it engaged in predatory pricing practices for sales of three cellular baseband chipsets to two customers during certain calendar quarters between 2009 and 2011. The commission fined the chip company 242 million euros ($271 million). Qualcomm plans to appeal the finding to the General Court of the European Union, and will offer a financial guarantee in lieu of paying the fine while the appeal is pending. "The Commission spent years investigating sales to two customers, each of whom said that they favored Qualcomm chips not because of price but because rival chipsets were technologically inferior,' the company's general counsel Don Rosenberg said in a statement. Qualcomm shares fell 1.1% in premarket trade, but have gained 33% in 2019, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

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Jul 18, 2019

Honeywell's stock rises after earnings beat and upbeat guidance, while sales fell shy
Shares of Honeywell International Inc. rose 0.8% in premarket trading Thursday after the industrial conglomerate reported a second-quarter profit that topped expectations while sales fell shy, and lifted the low end of its full-year guidance ranges. Net income rose to $1.56 billion, or $2.10 a share, from $1.28 billion, or $1.68 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings per share rose to $2.10 from $1.93, above the FactSet consensus of $2.08. Sales fell 15% to $9.24 billion, citing the impact of spinoffs, and missed the FactSet consensus of $9.35 billion, as aerospace sales fell less than expected, building technologies and performance materials and technologies sales were roughly in line with expectations and safety and productivity solutions sales fell more than expected. For 2019, Honeywell lifted the low end of its guidance ranges for EPS to $7.95 to $8.15 from $7.90 to $8.15, for sales to $36.7 billion to $37.2 billion from $36.5 billion to $37.2 billion and for adjusted free cash flow to $5.7 billion to $6.0 billion from $5.5 billion to $6.0 billion. The stock has rallied 27.6% year to date through Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 16.7%.

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Jul 18, 2019

Euro slips after report that ECB staff studying revising inflation goal
The euro felt pressure after Bloomberg Television reported that the staff of the European Central Bank was studying whether to revise its inflation target, which currently is below, but close to, 2% over the medium term. The euro was trading at $1.1207, vs $1.1230 before the report.

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Jul 18, 2019

UnitedHealth lifts 2019 profit forecast after topping second-quarter estimates
UnitedHealth said it was lifting its 2019 profit outlook after reporting second-quarter earnings of $3.29 billion, or $3.42 a share, an increase from $2.92 billion, or $2.98 a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $60.59 billion from $56.09 billion, which the company attributed to led by double-digit percentage revenue growth at UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, OptumRx and OptumHealth. On an adjusted measure, the company said it earned $3.60 a share, helped by the deferral of the health insurance tax. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $3.45 a share on revenue of $60.55 billion. The company said it was lifting its full-year adjusted EPS forecast to a range of $14.70 to $14.90, against analyst expectations of $14.70.

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Jul 18, 2019

Boeing planes vulnerable to cellphone interference: report
Potentially hundreds of Boeing 737 and 777 planes worldwide are flying with unsafe systems vulnerable to passenger cellphones, Bloomberg News reported, citing a 2014 Federal Aviation Administration safety bulletin. The display units vulnerable to interference were made by Honeywell International , which says it is only aware of one case where all six display units in a 737 went blank, which was caused by a software problem that has been fixed and been flight tested. Boeing found the interference only in a lab test in 2012, the report said.

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Jul 18, 2019

European stocks decline, with SAP down after reporting trade fallout
European stocks traded lower on Thursday, with the German DAX down 0.8% as SAP reported that trade tensions weighed on its second-quarter results. Those tensions remained in focus as The Wall Street Journal reported that progress on U.S.-China talks were stalled over how to handle the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. There were some gainers after earnings news, with Ubisoft Entertainment , easyJet and Novartis all gaining ground.

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Jul 17, 2019

United Rentals stock drops after company tops views, trims guidance
Shares of United Rentals Inc. fell more than 5% in the extended session Wednesday after the company reported second-quarter profits above Wall Street expectations but trimmed the top of its guidance range for the year. United Rentals said it earned $270 million, or $3.44 a share, in the quarter, compared with $270 million, or $3.20 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, United earned $4.74 a share, it said. Revenue rose 21% to $2.3 billion, the company said. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected United Rentals to report adjusted earnings of $4.42 a share on sales of $2.3 billion. United said it expects 2019 revenue between $9.15 billion and $9.45 billion, versus a prior guidance of $9.15 billion and $9.55 billion. The update reflects a "historically bad weather in several key regions this past quarter," the company said.

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Jul 17, 2019

Alcoa posts narrower-than-expected Q2 loss
Alcoa Corp. shares fell more than 1% before turning modestly higher in the extended session Wednesday following a second-quarter loss for the aluminium and alumina producer. The company continued to predict an aluminium deficit and an alumina surplus for 2019. Alcoa said it lost $402 million, or $2.17 a share, in the quarter, versus earnings of $10 million, or 5 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, the company lost $2 million, or a penny a share, versus earnings of $1.17 a share a year ago. Revenue fell to $2.7 billion from $3.6 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected an adjusted loss of 19 cents a share on sales of $2.7 billion. Alcoa said that global aluminum demand growth for 2019 is estimated to range between 1.25% and 2.25%, down from previous expectations of 2% to 3%, thanks to lower demand in both China and the world ex-China due to trade tensions and macroeconomic headwinds. Alcoa shares ended the regular trading day down 0.7%.

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Jul 17, 2019

Stocks book back-to-back losses; Dow transports tumble 3.6% as CSX shares plunge
U.S. stocks finished lower Wednesday, extending losses into the close of trade, adding to a drop spurred by President Trump's downbeat comments on China trade negotiations. A report from the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, also reinforced fears that trade worries remain a top concern, even as the economy continues to chug along. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 115 points, or about 0.4% to 27,220. The S&P 500 lost about 20 points, or 0.7%, to close at 2,984. The Nasdaq fell more nearly 40 points, or 0.5%, touching 8,185. Investors digested another round of corporate earnings, including better-than-expected results from Bank of America Corp. . Government data on the pace of new-home construction was weaker than economists had expected. Separately, the Dow Jones Transportation Average finished down 3.6% weighed by rail transport-services company CSX Corp. whose CEO said that the current economic environment was the most 'puzzling' of his career.

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Jul 17, 2019

Stocks close lower for second-straight day
U.S. stocks traded lower Wednesday, extending losses into the close of trade, following Tuesday losses driven by President Trump's downbeat comments on China trade negotiations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 100 points, or about 0.3% to 27,219. The S&P 500 lost about 19 points, or 0.6%, to close at 2,984. The Nasdaq fell more than 30 points, or .4%, touching 8,185. Investors digested another round of corporate earnings, including better-than-expected results from Bank of America Corp. . Government data on the pace of new-home construction was weaker than economists had expected.

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Jul 17, 2019

Oil prices end lower as U.S. crude supplies fall less than expected and product stocks climb
Oil futures ended with a loss on Wednesday, with U.S. prices at their lowest in about two weeks, as U.S. crude supplies posted a smaller-than-expected weekly decline and stockpiles of gasoline and distillates saw sizable gains. August West Texas Intermediate oil lost 84 cents, or 1.5%, to settle at $56.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest front-month contract finish since July 2, according to FactSet data.

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Jul 17, 2019

Victoria's Secret is losing Instagram 'likes' to competitors
Victoria's Secret is losing its likes, according to UBS analysts, who conducted a social media analysis of a number of apparel brands. The data shows that the L Brands Inc. lingerie brand saw its Instagram "likes" fall 34% year-over-year. Meanwhile, American Eagle Outfitters Inc.'s Aerie gained steam, as did a few other lesser-known brands. "For example, Fashion Nova, an apparel retailer which posts similar type of imagery as Victoria's Secret does, has made exceptional gains on Instagram," UBS said, noting that Fashion Nova had 37 million likes in June. "We think the market would be surprised to learn Fashion Nova generated more likes than any other brand or retailer we track in this study." Rapper Cardi B has a collection with Fashion Nova. Victoria's Secret, which has fallen out of favor, has struggled to get back on trend. L Brands stock is up 3% for the year to date while American Eagle Outfitters has fallen 6.7% and the S&P 500 index has gained 19.6%.

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Jul 17, 2019

Gold prices settle at a more than 6-year high
Gold futures climbed Wednesday to settle at their highest since May 2013, finding support from weakness in the dollar and expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut key interest rates later this month. "The dollar has eased back a little...allowing buck-denominated gold and silver to break further higher," said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at Forex.com. "As well as a weaker dollar, these precious metals have found support from safe haven flows amid weakness on Wall Street, where positive bank earnings have failed to keep the indices at record levels." Traders await the Fed's Beige Book analysis of economic activity, due out shortly for further indications of the central bank's plan for interest rates. August gold rose $12.10, or 0.9%, to settle at $1,423.30 on Comex. That was the highest finish for a most-active contract since mid-May 2013, according to FactSet data.

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Jul 17, 2019

Corning board approves $5 billion share buyback
Corning Inc. said Wednesday its board has approved a stock buyback program of up to $5 billion. The company, which makes glass products for a range of industries, said the board has also declared a quarterly dividend of 20 cents a share. The dividend will be payable Sept. 30 to shareholders of record s of Aug. 30. The company said the shareholder rewards are part of a Strategy and Growth Framework announced at an investor meeting last month. Shares were down 1.1%, but have gained 9.1% in 2019, while the S&P 500 has gained 19.8%.

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Jul 17, 2019

Nu Skin shares plummet, stock downgraded after guidance slashed
Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. stock plummeted 16.4% in Wednesday trading after the health, wellness and beauty company cut its guidance due to problems in the Chinese market. Nu Skin was also downgraded to neutral from buy at D.A. Davidson after the news. Nu Skin now expects second-quarter revenue of $622 million to $623 million, below the $630 million FactSet consensus. Earnings per share are expected to be 82 cents to 84 cents. The FactSet consensus is for 84 cents. "We are adjusting our guidance for the year primarily due to a reduced revenue outlook in Mainland China following the government's 100-day campaign to review and inspect the health products and direct selling industries," said Nu Skin Chief Executive Ritch Wood in a statement."Continued restrictions on sales meetings, as well as media scrutiny, have negatively impacted consumer sentiment and contributed to this adjustment." D.A. Davidson notes that China revenue accounted for 33% of Nu Skin's 2018 total. Analysts slashed the price target by $50, bringing it down to $38 from $88. However, they are bullish for the long term; they expect the dividend to be safe and think the company will make an adjustment if its meetings continue to be curtailed. "If the meeting ban continues for a long period of time, we think Nu Skin could develop alternative methods to lessen the magnitude of sales declines," analysts said. Stifel analysts also cut their Nu Skin price target to $37 from $45 and maintained their sell stock rating. Nu Skin stock has fallen nearly 50% over the last year while the S&P 500 index has gained 6.6%.

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Jul 17, 2019

Facebook faces more scrutiny on Day 2 of Libra hearings
Facebook Inc.'s cryptocurrency project is being met with more skepticism from the House Financial Services committee on Wednesday, a day after the Senate Banking Committee questioned the wisdom of entrusting the social-media giant with personal financial information, and its ability to police such a system. "I don't think you should launch Libra at all," Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said, echoing the mood of some members from each party. The Libra project has been roundly criticized by everyone from President Donald Trump to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

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Jul 17, 2019

Uber Eats and other third-party delivery services take a bite out of Domino's Pizza
Domino's Pizza Inc. Chief Executive Richard Allison said third-party delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats were a challenge during the second-quarter, and they aren't going away. "Our same-store sales performance for the quarter came in toward the lower end of our three-to-five-year outlook as we continue to navigate through headwinds related to aggressive activity from third-party aggregators," he said, according to a FactSet transcript. "I do not expect this activity to ease in the near term." Domino's reported a second-quarter revenue miss and same-store sales growth that missed expectations. "Domino's Pizza remains on the 'Biggest Concerns List' from CFRA Forensic Research Services, partly on sales and profit margin pressures and reduced operating leverage," wrote CFRA's Tuna Amobi in a note. CFRA maintained its hold opinion on Domino's stock but cut its price target to $270 from $290. BTIG remains bullish. "We maintain our buy rating on shares of Domino's Pizza following earnings as we believe the retail sales and market share gains the concept is generating will ultimately translate into a higher stock price," wrote analysts led by Peter Saleh. "While disappointed with domestic same-store sales results this quarter, new unit and retail sales growth remains healthy and we believe the stock's decline is more a function of elevated expectations rather than inflated valuation." BTIG cut its price target to $325 from $335. Domino's Pizza shares closed Tuesday down 8.7%, but are nearly unchanged in Wednesday trading. The stock has fallen 12.5% over the last year while the S&P 500 index has gained 6.6% for the period.

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Jul 17, 2019

EIA reports a fifth straight weekly fall in U.S. crude-oil supplies
The Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported that U.S. crude supplies fell for a fifth consecutive week, but by less than the market expected. Crude stockpiles were down 3.1 million barrels for the week ended July 12. They were forecast to fall by 4.2 million barrels, according to analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday reported a decline of 1.4 million barrels, according to sources. The EIA data showed that gasoline inventories climbed by 3.6 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles increased by 5.7 million barrels last week. The S&P Global Platts survey revealed expectations for a supply decline of 1.5 million barrels for gasoline and an increase of 300,000 barrels for distillates. August West Texas Intermediate crude was up 24 cents, or 0.4%, to $57.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices were trading at $57.83 before the supply data.

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Jul 17, 2019

Goldman Sachs downgrades Levi Strauss, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein parent PVH on department store concerns
Concerns about the wholesale channel sparked downgrades of Levi Strauss & Co. , Ralph Lauren Corp , and Calvin Klein parent PVH Corp. at Goldman Sachs. The downgrades sent each of the apparel stocks down, with Levi Strauss tumbling 4%, Ralph Lauren falling 3.7% and PVH down 3.4% in Wednesday trading. Goldman expects headwinds for the wholesale channel to ramp up in the second half of the year. "The combination of persistently tough first-half retail trends and an optimistic spring ordering season has driven inventory overhangs at several multibrand retailers," the Goldman note said. "These retailers are thus tightening up ordering as we head into the critical back-to-school and holiday season. We thus see incremental sell-in risk for apparel brands, particularly those with high exposure to department stores." Goldman expects growth at PVH's Tommy Hilfiger brand to "fade," thinks Ralph Lauren's wholesale troubles will be amplified by brand challenges at Polo and Lauren, and is worried that growth in Levi's tops business will decline. Levi stock is down 19% over the last three months, Ralph Lauren is down nearly 16%, and PVH is down 32.2%. The ProShares Decline of the Retail Store ETF has climbed nearly 11% over the last three months and the S&P 500 index has gained 3.5% for the period.

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Jul 17, 2019

Dow slips and the stock market treads water at the open as investors digest earnings from B.of A.
U.S. stock indexes tread water at the start of trading Wednesday, with investors finding few reasons to take benchmarks further into record territory, amid a round of earnings from U.S. corporations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 17 points, or less than 0.1%, lower at 27,316, the S&P 500 index retreated less than 0.1% at 3,003, while the Nasdaq Composite Index inched less than 0.1% lower at 8,224. Bank of America reported better-than-expected results, with earnings per share for the quarter at 74 cents, compared with estimates for 71 cents. But expectations for lower profits, in an environment of falling interest rates, have put some pressure on shares of the second-largest bank by assets. Meanwhile, shares of CSX Corp. were down after the rail company cut its full-year sales projections, citing economic uncertainty and a recent shutdown of a major oil refinery it served.

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Jul 17, 2019

Apple to test out some AirPods production in Vietnam: report
Apple Inc. plans to start trial production of its AirPods product in Vietnam, according to a new report from the Nikkei Asian Review, as it looks to reduce its dependence on Chinese manufacturing. One of the company's contract manufacturers will start testing its production processing for the next iteration of AirPods at a Vietnam facility, said the report, which cites multiple anonymous sources, though the initial trials would be very small. Apple declined to comment in the Nikkei Asian Review's story. Its shares are down 0.3% in Wednesday trading. They've gained 29% so far this year, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 17%.

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Jul 17, 2019

Amazon Prime Day sales surpass Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined
Amazon.com Inc. said Wednesday that this year's two-day Prime Day shopping event was the biggest shopping event in the company's history, surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. More than 175 million items were purchased, with the event becoming the largest-ever for Amazon devices, including the Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote. Prime members also bought 100,000 lunchboxes, 100,000 laptops, 350,000 luxury beauty products, and more than one million toys. Amazon says Prime members around the world saved more than $1 billion. Eighteen countries participated this year. And Amazon reports it signed up the most new Prime members ever on July 15 and nearly as many on July 16. Amazon stock has gained 33.6% in 2019 while the S&P 500 index is up nearly 20% for the period.

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Jul 17, 2019

Tencent-backed DouYu prices IPO at $11.50 to raise $775 million: Reuters
Tencent-backed live-streaming company DouYu International Holdings Ltd. priced its initial public offering at $11.50 per American Depositary Share, the low end of its $11.50 to $14.00 price range, Reuters reported. The company sold 67.4 million ADS to raise $775 million, according to Reuters. It has applied to list on Nasdaq, under the ticker symbol "DOYU. Every 10 ADS is equal to one ordinary share.

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Jul 17, 2019

Gilead's Chief Scientific Officer to leave next month
Gilead Sciences Inc's Chief Scientific Officer John McHutchison will leave the company next month, the company announced Wednesday. McHutchison, who is also Gilead's head of research and development, joined the pharmaceutical giant in 2010 and was named chief scientific officer in March 2018. During his time at Gilead, he oversaw the development of several hepatitis B and C treatments, as well as the company's expansion into oncology with the development of Zydelig. Gilead also announced other changes to its senior leadership team: Chief Patient Officer Greg Alton and Executive Vice President of Human Resources Katie Watson will be leaving, as well. Jyoti Mehra, currently vice president of human resources, will take Watson's place. Shares of Gilead fell 0.4% in premarket trade on the news. The stock has gained 7% in the year to date through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 19.8%.

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Jul 17, 2019

Cannabis company Curaleaf to buy GR Cos. in a cash and stock deal valued at $875 million
Massachusetts-based cannabis company Curaleaf Holdings Inc. said Wednesday it was buying multi-state operator GR Companies Inc. in a deal valued at $875 million in cash and stock. Under terms of the deal, Curaleaf will pay $75 million in cash and provide 102.8 million subordinate voting shares and $40 million worth of shares. The acquisition, which is expected to close in early 2020, will increase Curaleaf's presence to 19 states from 12, including Illinois, which legalized adult-use cannabis in June. The combined company will have 131 dispensary licences, 68 operational locations, 20 cultivation sites and 26 processing facilities. Curaleaf's U.S.-listed shares have tumbled 35.1% over the past three months, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF has lost 11.7% and the S&P 500 has gained 3.6%.

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Jul 17, 2019

Ladenburg Thalmann initiates coverage of cannabis sector with buy ratings on Canopy Growth, Aurora
Ladenburg Thalmann initiated coverage of the cannabis sector on Wednesday, assigning buy ratings to market leader Canopy Growth Corp. and Aurora Cannabis Inc. , and a neutral rating to Tilray Inc. Analyst Glenn Mattson said he favors Canadian companies who are focused on long-term value creation and gaining market share, along with those with clear plans to enter the U.S. market, which is expected to become the world's biggest, if and when federal laws allow it. "In the U.S. we look for companies that are building a presence in states with large populations but a limited licensing outlook," Mattson wrote in a series of notes to clients. The analyst views Canopy as a compelling investment opportunity, and said he expects it to retain its leading position in Canada--and beyond. "We believe that Canopy can replicate that effort in other markets as those markets move toward legalization," Mattson wrote. "Canopy has the most aggressive approach to capturing the U.S. market (estimated to be the world's largest potentially) through its potential acquisition of Acreage Holdings (ACRGF: $14.50, Buy)," he said. Aurora is "one of the most aggressive capacity expansion plays" in the cannabis sector, with its aim to become the low-cost provider of premium product. "While some firms are being cautious about expansion with the possibility that the Canadian market may see oversupply, Aurora is taking the view that the market for cannabis will be global and it can export to areas like Europe if the Canadian market sees saturation," he wrote. Turning to Tilray, Mattson said that company is supplying medical cannabis to patients in 15 countries and praised its brand strategy and clinical trials. But the plan of distribution of its big shareholder Privateer will create an overhang on the stock that Mattson expects will weigh for some time. "It remains to be seen what kind of traction TLRY will have with CBD in the U.S. and until then we don't believe an established organic food

MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 17, 2019

Kohl's to hire thousands of workers for new stores, back-to-school, and more
Kohl's Corp. said Wednesday that it will hire thousands of workers for positions across the country. About 3,000 associates will be brought on for customer service and omnichannel positions. The retailer will also add seasonal associates, starting this summer to help with the back-to-school shopping season and staying on through the holidays. There are also summer seasonal positions that will start in August spanning across nine distribution centers and five e-commerce fulfillment centers. Up to 50 seasonal positions are open at "omni power centers" located within stores. These workers will help fill digital orders from stores. Finally, Kohl's has five new stores opening in Minnesota, New York, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Colorado in need of full- and part-time workers. Kohl's stock has taken a 25% tumble in 2019 while the S&P 500 index is up nearly 20%.

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Jul 17, 2019

Comerica's stock falls after profit and NII miss, downbeat outlook
Shares of Comerica Inc. dropped 2.0% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the Texas-based regional bank reported a second-quarter profit and net interest income (NII) that missed expectations, and provided a downbeat NII outlook. Net income was $298 million, or $1.94 a share, after earnings of $326 million, or $1.87 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted EPS rose to $1.94 from $1.90, but was below the FactSet consensus of $2.00. NII increased to $603 million from $590 million, but missed the FactSet consensus of $609 million, as an increase in deposit costs and higher levels of funding to support loan growth offset an increase in average loans and an additional day in this year's quarter. For 2019, the company NII growth of 2%, while the FactSet consensus of $2.42 billion implies 2.8% growth. The stock has shed 9.5% over the past three months, while the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF has slipped 3.8% and the S&P 500 has gained 3.6%.

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Jul 17, 2019

Abbott stock rises after earnings beat, full-year guidance boost
Shares of Abbott Laboratories gained 0.8% in premarket trade Wednesday after the medical-device maker reported second-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street expectations and raised full-year guidance, though the company missed expectations for revenue. Profit for the latest quarter rose to $1.465 billion, or 56 cents a share, from $733 million, or 41 cents a share, from the year-earlier quarter. Adjusted EPS was 82 cents, topping the FactSet consensus of 80 cents. Revenue rose 2.7% to $7.979 billion from $7.767 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected $7.997 billion in sales. Sales of the company's nutrition unit rose 0.9% to $1.875 billion, while the diagnostics sales rose 1.7% to $1.905 billion. Sales of the established pharmaceuticals business fell 1.8% to $1.108 billion, while sales of the medical devices unit rose 6.4% to $3.075 billion, boosted by strong sales of the company's FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring system and MitraClip. Abbott raised its full-year EPS to between $3.21 and $3.27 from between $3.15 and $3.25. "Our sales growth accelerated and is sustainable," Abbott's Chief Executive Miles D. White said in a statement. "We have great momentum and are raising our guidance above the strong outlook we previously set for the year." Shares of Abbott have gained 15% so far this year through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 19.8%.

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Jul 17, 2019

Penske Automotive raises quarterly cash dividend to 40 cents a share vs. 37.5 cents
Penske Automotive Group Inc. said Wednesday its board has agreed to increase its quarterly cash dividend to 40 cents a share. The current dividend is 37.5 cents a share, according to FactSet. The new dividend is payable Sept. 4 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 9. Shares were not active premarket, but have gained 11.7% in 2019, while the S&P 500 has gained 19.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 17, 2019

Merck stock up slightly after FDA approves Recarbrio for new indication
Shares of Merck & Co Inc. ticked up 0.5% in premarket trade Wednesday after the company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved its antibacterial Recarbrio injection for use in treating complicated urinary tract infections. The drug is also approved for use in adult patients who have limited options for the treatment of complicated intra-abdominal infections caused by certain bacteria. Merck said it expects to make the drug available later this year. Shares of Merck have gained 6.8% so far this year through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 19.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 17, 2019

Bank of America plans to boost dividend 20%, increase pace of stock buybacks
Bank of America Corp. announced Wednesday a plan to return $37 billion to shareholders over the next 12 months, through share repurchases and dividends. As part of that plan, the money-center bank said it plans to increase the quarterly dividend by 20%. Based on Tuesday's stock closing price of $28.99 and the current dividend of 15 cents a share, a 20% increase would imply a quarterly dividend of 18 cents a share, an annual dividend rate of 72 cents a share and a dividend yield of 2.48%. That's above the implied yield for the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF of 1.95% and for the S&P 500 of 1.93%. The plan also includes more than $30 billion in gross stock buybacks, which represents more than 10.9% of the shares outstanding. That would be an increase from the past 12 months, in which the bank repurchased 7% of its shares outstanding. BofA's stock fell 0.3% in premarket trading, after the bank reported second-quarter earnings that topped expectations but revenue that came up a bit short.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 17, 2019

Bank of America's stock falls after profit beats but revenue comes up a bit short
Shares of Bank of America Corp. dropped 0.7% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the bank reported a second-quarter profit that beat expectations but revenue that came up a bit short. Net income rose to $7.11 billion, or 74 or cents a share, from $6.47 billion, or 63 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was 71 cents. Total revenue increased 2.4% to $23.08 billion, just below the FactSet consensus of $23.11 billion, while net interest income rose 3.1% to $12.19 billion but missed expectations of $12.36 billion. Consumer banking revenue grew 5.2% to $9.72 billion, while the range of two analysts surveyed by FactSet was $9.61 billion to $9.64 billion. Global markets revenue fell 2.5% to $4.15 billion, as sales and trading revenue declined 6% to $3.2 billion. Elsewhere, global banking revenue declined 0.8% to $4.98 billion and global wealth and investment management revenue increased 3.3% to $4.90 billion. The stock has run up 17.7% year to date through Tuesday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has climbed 17.9% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has hiked up 17.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 16, 2019

Justice Department backs Qualcomm's bid to halt enforcement of antitrust ruling
The U.S. Justice Department is siding with Qualcomm Inc. in its bid to hold off enforcement of an antitrust ruling against the chip maker during its appeals process, arguing that the company is important to national security. In documents filed Tuesday, the Justice Department said the district court's ruling "threatens competition, innovation and national security." In a related filing, Ellen Lord, the Defense Department's under secretary for acquisition and sustainment, said "Qualcomm is a key player both in terms of its trusted supply chain and as a leader in innovation, and it would be impossible to replace Qualcomm's critical role in 5G technology in the short term." In May, a federal judge sided with the Federal Trade Commission in ruling that Qualcomm had broken antitrust law through licensing practices that "strangled competition." The San Diego-based company immediately filed an appeal seeking a stay of enforcement, arguing that the ruling would force it to change its business model, which would be too difficult to unwind if the ruling was eventually overturned on appeal.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 16, 2019

Nu Skin stock falls after outlook cut on China sales
Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. shares fell in the extended session Tuesday after the beauty and wellness products maker cut its outlook. Nu Skin shares fell 14% after hours, following a 3.4% rise to close the regular session at $45.51. The company forecast earnings of 82 cents to 84 cents a share on revenue of $622 million to $623 million for the second quarter, and $3.20 to $3.25 a share on revenue of $2.48 billion to $2.52 billion for the year. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated earnings of 93 cents a share on revenue of $672.5 million for the second quarter, and $3.94 a share on revenue of $2.77 billion for the year. "We are adjusting our guidance for the year primarily due to a reduced revenue outlook in Mainland China following the government's 100-day campaign to review and inspect the health products and direct selling industries," said Nu Skin Chief Executive Ritch Wood in a statement. "Continued restrictions on sales meetings, as well as media scrutiny, have negatively impacted consumer sentiment and contributed to this adjustment."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 16, 2019

API data reportedly show a 1.4 million-barrel decline in U.S. crude stocks
The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies fell by 1.4 million barrels for the week ended July 12, according to sources. The API also reportedly showed a stockpile decline of 476,000 barrels for gasoline, but distillate inventories jumped by 6.2 million barrels. Inventory data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday. The EIA data are expected to show crude inventories down by 4.2 million barrels last week, according to analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. They also forecast a fall of 1.5 million barrels for gasoline and an increase of 300,000 barrels for distillate supplies. August West Texas Intermediate crude was at $57.50 a barrel in electronic trading, down from the contract's $57.62 settlement on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 16, 2019

United Airlines parent beats Q2 earnings expectations, stock rises
Shares of United Airlines Holdings Inc. rose more than 1% in the extended session Tuesday after the parent of United Airlines reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings. United said it earned $1.1 billion, or $4.02 a share, in the quarter, compared with $888 million, or $2.48 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted for one-time earnings, United earned $1.1 billion, or $4.21 a share, compared with $3.22 a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected United to report an adjusted EPS of $4.12 for the quarter. Revenue reached $11.4 billion, in line with analyst expectations and compared with $10.8 billion a year ago. In the same statement, United said its board authorized a new $3 billion stock buyback program. The shares had ended the regular trading day up 2.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 16, 2019

CSX stock falls after earnings miss
CSX Corp. shares dropped in the extended session Tuesday after the railroad operator's quarterly results fell short of Wall Street estimates. CSX shares fell 5.5% after hours, following a 1.3% rise to close the regular session at $79.55. The company reported second-quarter net income of $870 million, or $1.08 a share, compared with $877 million, or $1.01 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue declined to $3.06 billion from $3.1 billion in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of $1.11 a share on revenue of $3.14 billion.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jul 16, 2019

Dow snaps 4-day win streak, narrowly misses longest string of records in 1 1/2 years
The three major U.S. stock benchmarks snapped a multisession win streak on Tuesday as President Donald Trump said an agreement with China on trade tariffs had "a long way to go," and a trio of the U.S.'s largest banks reported quarterly results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down by about 24 points, or less than 0.1%, at 27,336, ending four straight days of gains. If the Dow had finished in positive territory, it would have marked the longest streak of records for the blue-chip index since Dec. 13, 2017, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 closed off 0.3% at 3,004, halting a 5-day win streak and the Nasdaq Composite Index finished down 0.4% at 8,222, ending its string of gains at two. All three benchmarks closed at records on Monday. Investors digested earnings JPMorgan Chase & Co. , Goldman Sachs , and Wells Fargo & Co. , which delivered on lowered expectations but came as the Federal Reserve was expected to lower rates, currently at a range of 2.25%-2.50% at the end of July to combat the effects of tariff conflicts between the U.S. and China. Banks tend to benefit from a higher-rate environment because the institutions borrow over a short-term basis and lend over a longer term. JPMorgan, for one, said that it was lowering its forecast for net interest margin, which helped to put pressure on its shares. Goldman's stock, however, rose 1.9%, as the investment bank surprised by beating analysts' average estimates firmly on profit and revenue. On the economic front, June retail sales rose 0.4% compared against May, coming in ahead of the 0.1% gain expected by economists polled by MarketWatch. Still, Dallas Federal Reserve chief Robert Kaplan also said Tuesday that inflation is likely to remain low because of the vast changes new technologies have had on wages and prices.

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